Magnesium, calcium, and potassium are famous for their cardiovascular benefits, but sulfur is widely underestimated. Sulfur is most widely known for its potent rotten-egg smell, but it also packs a powerful punch when treating high blood pressure. Researchers at Johns Hopkins have even discussed the potential of using hydrogen sulfide as an antihypertensive medication!
At Natural Heart Doctor, we know that pharmaceuticals aren’t necessary to boost sulfur levels. There are plenty of sulfur-rich foods that can lower your blood pressure naturally. Let’s take a closer look at how sulfur keeps your cardiovascular system healthy and how to make sure you’re getting enough in your diet.
How does sulfur help high blood pressure?
Sulfur is an abundant and necessary mineral in the human body, and it’s an important part of several amino acids, primarily methionine and cysteine. Sulfur helps with the repair of DNA and gene expression and supports the integrity of connective tissue and cartilage. Research shows that eating sulfur-rich foods can be protective against many diseases, including:
- Diabetes-related complications such as kidney disease and cardiovascular problems
- Cancer, particularly those affecting the GI tract
- Neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s
- Arthritis symptoms and pain
- Skin disorders such as acne, rosacea, dermatitis, and more
Sulfur-rich foods are also beneficial in preventing cardiovascular disease and high blood pressure. Research shows that sulfur, particularly in the form of cruciferous vegetables, is linked with improved cardiovascular health and longevity.
Sulfur, endothelial health, and the glycocalyx
To better understand how sulfur lowers your blood pressure, we need to take a closer look at two components of blood vessels – the endothelium and the glycocalyx.
The endothelium is the innermost lining of the blood vessels and is only one cell thick. Endothelial function plays a huge role in the regulation of blood pressure. Sitting on top of the endothelium is a protective network of cells called the glycocalyx.
The glycocalyx helps blood flow and provides a barrier to protect the endothelium from injury. It also regulates what passes through the blood vessel walls and helps prevent blood clots.
Sulfur is an important molecule in supporting the health of the glycocalyx. Sulfate anions attach to the glycocalyx and keep blood flowing through the vessels more easily.
Sulfur also boosts nitric oxide production, a molecule that helps blood vessels dilate and relax. Without enough sulfur in your diet, your glycocalyx will suffer. This can induce endothelial dysfunction and high blood pressure.
Sulfur vs. atherosclerosis
Because of its protective effect on vessel walls, sulfur can prevent atherosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries. Atherosclerosis occurs when the lining of the arteries becomes damaged, and plaque builds up along the vessel walls.
Over time, this causes a narrowing of the blood vessels, leading to an increase in blood pressure. Atherosclerosis can also increase your risk for dangerous complications, including heart attack and stroke. Sulfur helps support the glycocalyx, so blood vessel walls are less prone to damage and plaque buildup.
Sulfur and glutathione
Glutathione is an antioxidant that helps remove free radicals from the body. Fewer free radicals means less oxidative stress and lower blood pressure. Sulfur also plays a vital role in the body’s production and recycling of glutathione.
Eight sulfur-boosting foods for high blood pressure
Science shows that sulfur is essential for naturally bringing down blood pressure. There’s no need to turn to Big Pharma when nature has supplied us with delicious sulfur-rich foods. Add as many of these to your diet as possible:
Garlic and onions
Garlic, onions, and leeks contain allicin, an abundant organosulfur compound. Cooking garlic can actually reduce allicin levels, so use fresh garlic for the most benefit!
Veggies such as broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, and Brussels sprouts contain plenty of sulforaphane, which can reduce oxidative stress and inflammation.
Don’t let your doctor tell you eggs are bad for your heart. Eggs contain sulfur in the form of the amino acid, methionine, which can regulate the immune system.
Animal protein is an excellent source of sulfur-containing amino acids, including cysteine and methionine. Organ meats, such as heart and liver, have high sulfur content and are also a great source of iron. Choose organic and grass-fed options.
Fish and seafood
Seafood is sulfur-rich and has the added benefit of boosting omega-3 fatty acids, further reducing inflammation and blood pressure. Choose crab, mussels, haddock, prawns, or scallops for the highest sulfur content.
Nuts and seeds
Sulfur-packed nuts and seeds are a great way to snack. The best options include almonds, Brazil nuts, peanuts, walnuts, pumpkin seeds, and sesame seeds. Tahini is a great addition to homemade dips.
Believe it or not, even certain spices contain sulfur. Curry powder, ginger, and horseradish can add flavor to your meals. Ginger can also be used to make tea.
This is our favorite type of water for a reason. San Pellegrino contains 459 mg of sulfate per liter! It’s also free of toxins and packed with other beneficial minerals.
Sulfur-boosting supplements to lower blood pressure
The best way to bring down your blood pressure is through a diet packed with sulfur-rich foods. But life can get hectic, and sometimes it’s impossible to meal-plan. Fortunately, certain supplements can help keep sulfur levels high. Here are a few of our favorites:
- Daily Defense — This is our daily protein shake, packed with powerful sulfur-based nutrients along with multivitamins, probiotics, and more!
- Arterosil — This supplement contains an extract of Rhamnam sulfate, which can help regenerate and improve glycocalyx function.
- Gut Protect — This product has been formulated specifically to support gut health and contains MSM (methylsulfonylmethane), an organosulfur compound
- Taurine — Taurine is a sulfur-containing amino acid that can also help to reduce inflammation.
- Garlic Force — Not everyone wants garlic breath every day. Our supplement contains 1500mg of high-quality garlic in every capsule.
Natural ways to support sulfur levels and lower blood pressure
To further support sulfur levels, it’s essential to choose organic food. This ensures that you get the most nutrients and avoid toxic pesticides used in conventionally grown produce.
Environmental toxins, such as pesticides and heavy metals, impair the synthesis of sulfur in the body. Avoid these toxins and get support if you think you may have been exposed. Research shows that sunlight helps support the synthesis of sulfur – so get outside as much as possible!
At Natural Heart Doctor, we believe that pharmaceuticals aren’t necessary if you’re making the right lifestyle choices. You can naturally bring down your blood pressure and support your 100 Year Heart by adding sulfur-rich foods and supplements to your diet. Sulfur is excellent for blood pressure and doesn’t pose any harmful side effects.
Eat Well · Live Well · Think Well
Medical Review 2022: Dr. Lauren Lattanza NMD